Asking someone to define mindfulness is kind of like asking, “What does chocolate taste like?” Or “What does your favourite song sound like?” Definitions can only give you a small idea of what the real experience is like. Just reading about mindfulness without experiencing it yourself is like going to a restaurant to read the menu, without tasting any of the food. Just as the point of going to a restaurant is to taste the food, the point of mindfulness is to experience it for yourself.
Mindfulness is all about paying attention to the present moment. Mindfulness is about shifting out of autopilot and awakening to the here and now. Mindfulness is about freeing yourself from regrets about the past and worries about the future.
Everyone can be mindful. You have probably already experienced moments of natural mindfulness. Perhaps you’ve had times, without even trying to, when you were deeply aware of what you were doing; the only thing that mattered was the present moment—the past and the future seemed to disappear—and you were filled with thanks for being alive. Maybe this happens for you when you play sports. Or maybe you experience this kind of awareness when you play a musical instrument, when you pet your dog or cat gently, or when you listen to your favourite song. Whether you realised it or not in those moments, you already know how to be mindful!